Off-campus UMass Amherst users: To download campus access dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your UMass Amherst user name and password.

Non-UMass Amherst users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this dissertation through interlibrary loan.

Dissertations that have an embargo placed on them will not be available to anyone until the embargo expires.

Author ORCID Identifier


Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Wayne Bulerson

Subject Categories

Digital Circuits | Electrical and Electronics | Hardware Systems | VLSI and Circuits, Embedded and Hardware Systems


This thesis presents innovations for a special class of circuits called Time Difference (TD) circuits. We introduce a signal processing methodology with TD signals that alters the target signal from a magnitude perspective to time interval between two time events and systematically organizes the primary TD functions abstracted from existing TD circuits and systems. The TD circuits draw attention from a broad range of application fields. In addition, highly evolved complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) technology suffers from various problems related to voltage and current amplitude signal processing methods. Compared to traditional analog and digital circuits, TD circuits bring several compelling features: high-resolution, high-throughput, and low-design complexity with digital integration capability. Further, the fabrication technology is advancing into the nanometer regime; the reduction in voltage headroom limits the performance of traditional analog/mixed-signal designs. All-digital design of time-difference circuit needs to be stressed to adapt to the low-cost, low-power, and high-portability applications.

We focus on Time-to-Digital Converters (TDC), one of the crucial building blocks in TD circuits. A novel algorithmic architecture is proposed based on a binary search algorithm and validated with both simulation and fabricated silicon. An all-digital structure Time-difference Amplifier (TDA) is designed and implemented to make FPGA and other all-digital implementations for TDC and related TD circuits feasible. Besides, we propose an all-digital timing measurement circuit based on the process variation from CMOS fabrication: PVTMC, which achieves a high measurement resolution: $